Pharmaceutical Brainwashing of America with Vanessa Sardi: PYP 196

When Vanessa Sardi was a drug rep for one of the world's largest and most powerful pharmaceutical companies, she firmly believed that she was educating doctors to make better prescribing decisions and was helping patients live healthier, more comfortable lives.

Vanessa had gone into the medical field resolved to help people with heart disease, inspired by the loss of her beloved grandfather in her early teens. Armed with a masters in cardiovascular physiology, she threw herself into cardio rehab and fell in love with the field, her colleagues, and her patients.

When the clinic folded due to insurance reimbursement changes, Vanessa moved on to pharmaceutical sales. As a long-time dancer and member of the New Orleans Saints cheerleading squad, the Saintsations, she had the prerequisite “pharma rep looks” to go along with her deep expertise in biology and medicine. And as she learned the art of the sale, she quickly rose to become the second most successful US rep in the company.

And then she watched Forks Over Knives and everything changed.

The scales fell away from her eyes, and Vanessa suddenly saw the truth behind the pharma marketing machine. Drugs treated symptoms, they didn't cure diseases. Doctors managed illness, and didn't really know how to make people better.

When Vanessa contracted Guillain-Barré Syndrome from a flu shot, she didn't stop believing in vaccines. She was just one of the few unlucky ones, she assumed. The rest of us would still benefit. But once she began to question the pharma party line, she saw mountains of evidence linking vaccines to all manner of ill health.

Vanessa quit the industry, re-schooled herself as a transformational health coach and graduate of Wellness Forum Health and e-Cornell's Program in Plant-based Nutrition, and reinvented herself – all while staying true to her initial passion for heart health.

In our conversation, we covered:

  • her struggles with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating
  • dealing with food addiction through mindfulness
  • surviving her abusive grandmother and loving the grandfather who wasn't strong enough to protect her
  • working at a cardio rehab center
  • the life of a professional NFL cheerleader
  • getting trained brainwashed as a pharma sales rep
  • pulling back the curtain on pharma's marketing BS
  • how to distort statistics to hoodwink doctors
  • why doctors don't catch on to pharma's misleading tactics
  • watching Forks Over Knives in 2014 and going plant-based overnight (literally)
  • from pharma rep to farmer's rep – still walking the walk and dressing the part
  • how eating whole food, plant-based affected her “fat thoughts” from her disordered eating days
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Vanessa's website:

Forks Over Knives – the documentary

The Wellness Forum

(T. Colin Campbell's e-Cornell course in Plant-Based Nutrition)

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This Month's Skedaddling Report

What's a Skedaddling Report? It's one that appears for a short time, and then disappears again.

This month's SR is called Sometimes Say Never: How to Avoid Binge Eating and Be at Peace with Food.

And it tackles the thorny question of when to “go nuclear” with a particular food or food group and decide never to eat it again, and when to treat it as a treat: occasional, situational, and in moderation.

Find out more and grab the report before it skedaddles!

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


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8 Responses to “Pharmaceutical Brainwashing of America with Vanessa Sardi: PYP 196”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Wayne Pedersen says:

    I’d like to know more about that gardening technique you mentioned after the interview.

  2. Andrea says:

    Thanks so much for doing this podcast. I have gained so much knowledge and inspiration in my healthy lifestyle journey from your show. Keep up the great job 🙂

    Just a note to let you know that the link to Vanessa’s website above is incorrect-it should be

  3. Allan Kristensen says:

    Hi guys.

    Thanks for a great podcast.

    It seems you got the address of Vanessa’s site misspelled, both here on this site and in the show notes of the podcast.

    I believe it’s instead of .com. The last one just looks weird 🙂

  4. Michele says:

    Her experience with the flu vaccine raises concern for me particularly as a parent. I was hoping she would share more about confidence or concerns with vaccines. Has she written anything about this?

    • Howard says:

      I’m not sure. Check out her website, Also, for those interested in the science behind the pros and cons of vaccination (and not just the knee-jerk “vaccines are good and how dare you question them?” reaction), Wellness Forum Health of Columbus, Ohio has lots of balanced information.

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